The Marshall Space Flight Center MSFC inherited the Army's Jupiter and Redstone test stands but larger facilities were needed.



Washington, DC, United States

At its founding, the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) inherited the Army’s Jupiter and Redstone test stands, but much larger facilities were needed for the giant stages of the Saturn V. From 1960 to 1964, the existing stands were remodeled and a sizable new test area was developed. The new comprehensive test complex for propulsion and structural dynamics was unique within the nation and the free world, and they remain so today because they were constructed with foresight to meet the future as well as on going needs. Construction of the S-IC Static test stand complex began in 1961 in the west test area of MSFC, and was completed in 1964. The S-IC static test stand was designed to develop and test the 138-ft long and 33-ft diameter Saturn V S-IC first stage, or booster stage, weighing in at 280,000 pounds. Required to hold down the brute force of a 7,500,000-pound thrust produced by 5 F-1 engines, the S-IC static test stand was designed and constructed with the strength of hundreds of tons of steel and 12,000,000 pounds of cement, planted down to bedrock 40 feet below ground level. The foundation walls, constructed with concrete and steel, are 4 feet thick. The base structure consists of four towers with 40-foot-thick walls extending upward 144 feet above ground level. The structure was topped by a crane with a 135-foot boom. With the boom in the upright position, the stand was given an overall height of 405 feet, placing it among the highest structures in Alabama at the time. In addition to the stand itself, related facilities were constructed during this time. Built directly east of the test stand was the Block House, which served as the control center for the test stand. The two were connected by a narrow access tunnel which housed the cables for the controls. The F-1 Engine test stand was built north of the massive S-IC test stand. The F-1 test stand is a vertical engine firing test stand, 239 feet in elevation and 4,600 square feet in area at the base, and was designed to assist in the development of the F-1 Engine. Capability is provided for static firing of 1.5 million pounds of thrust using liquid oxygen and kerosene. Like the S-IC stand, the foundation of the F-1 stand is keyed into the bedrock approximately 40 feet below grade. This aerial photograph, taken January 15, 1963, gives a close overall view of the newly developed test complex. Depicted in the forefront center is the S-IC test stand with towers prominent, the Block House is seen in the center just above the S-IC test stand, and the large hole to the left, located midway between the two is the F-1 test stand site.


  • Title: The Marshall Space Flight Center MSFC inherited the Army's Jupiter and Redstone test stands but larger facilities were needed.
  • Date Created: 1963-01-15
  • Owner: MSFC
  • Album: rlobrie1
  • About Title: To help you find images you’re searching for, previously untitled images have been labelled automatically based on their description

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